September 1, 2005

Heart in the Ground

Dr. Jerz mentioned some interesting topics he scoped out in the play: knives and containers. Can any one names some containers in the play besides the rooms of the house, the earth in which Catherine was buried, etc.?

LEE: Karen, it's not loaded. And I hid the shells.
KAREN: [Nodding her head.] In with the Christmas decorations. I know. [Pause.] Remember last March? Around Easter time? When the ground was soft and starting to warm up? It rained so much there at the end that everything was just soaked through with water? Seemed like we were there in the mud with everything else. Just heavy and wet. Waiting for Catherine to be born. I walked around barefoot outside in the mud and I remember the earth grabbing my feet and not wanting to let go. [Beat.] Right now I feel like a bone the wind's blown across the yard and no one even notices. Don't you feel like that? [Beat.] Maybe you don't. If you could feel the earth underneath you, you'd see what I'm saying.
LEE: Maybe we should . . . Wouldn't it be enough to go visit every day? We could both go. Whenever you needed. I'd go with you. If you want.
Both characters share a common feeling of loss and sadness over the death of their baby, Catherine. However, Karen is more apt to express outwardly the inner angst she feels over the loss of the child. Karen waves a shotgun in the air as in an intermittent threat not only on Lee’s life, but also on their shared history. Karen reminisces about the months she carried the child; coincidentally, these months were in the spring. Spring usually signifies a guarantee of new life, vitality, and rebirthing of the self. Instead of producing new life, Karen is drug down into the mud – literally. After the baby vacates its home – the womb, Karen is left empty and alone. It is at this point in conversation that Lee realizes the severity of despair his wife feels about their child’s passing.

Their conversation is reminiscent of Sylvia Plath’s poem “Metaphors.” The speaker talks about her pregnancy in direct juxtaposition with her mental condition; she feels as though “there is no getting off the train” that is pregnancy. Perhaps the mere thought of raising children is too much for some women; however, Karen wants to be the ideal mother because she has already suffered through the loss of another child at the tender age of fourteen. This pregnancy, Karen is in the ideal condition: she is married, she is 22, she is ready to make a home for a baby – but when the baby dies, so does Karen’s hope.

This is a turning point in the play, perhaps the climax. Lee actualizes Karen’s tragedy and wants to help her to overcome the struggle of losing a baby. Lee readies himself to do anything, anytime to assist Karen to get better. Lee even furthers his understanding of her suffering by saying he will not meddle in her personal matters: he will go with her, only if she wants. This is moment in the play is pivotal to the proceeding action.

This moment is when the characters realize their shared love for the deceased child, as well as their love for one another – and emphasis on the importance of one another’s feelings.

Posted by KatieAikins at September 1, 2005 4:09 PM